West Indies 167 for 6 (Pollard 51*, Simmons 47, Shamsi 2-13, Linde 2-16) beat South Africa 146 for 9 (de Kock 60, Bravo 4-19, Russell 2-30) by 21 runs

West Indies defended 167 in the fourth T20I against South Africa to lock the five-match series at 2-2 and set up a decider for Saturday. Their big names all took responsibility: captain Kieron Pollard top-scored with 51*, Dwayne Bravo claimed career-best figures of 4 for 19, and Chris Gayle taking a wicket with his first ball to go with two catches were the icing on the cake.

The home side scored 20 off their first over and 66 in the final four but their innings suffered a lull in between. They managed just 81 runs in the 15 overs from the second to the 17th as South Africa's spinners put the brakes on. But their efforts were not enough for a batting line-up that lacks a finisher and remains over-reliant on Quinton de Kock.

South Africa's former captain scored a second successive half-century and a sixth T20I half-century in his last 15 matches, but had little support from the other end as no other South Africa batter scored more than 20. They last successfully chased a target above 160 in February 2018 when they beat India, and last won a T20I series in March 2019 against Sri Lanka, but will still have the chance to turn that around in two days' time.

Opening overload…
Aiden Markram, South Africa's sixth bowler, was given the new ball and eyebrows would have been immediately raised over that choice. Lendl Simmons swept Markram's first ball past short fine-leg for four, cut his third delivery, which was short and wide, for four more, and then took two sixes off the last three balls. The first was a sweep over fine leg and the second an audacious smack straight down the ground. West Indies scored 20 runs off that over, their most in the first over of a T20I and the most by any team batting first in this format. … and then the squeeze
But South Africa pulled things back impressively and took six wickets in the 15 overs that followed. As has been the case throughout the series, their spinners controlled the run rate and frustrated the West Indies line-up. George Linde was introduced after the powerplay and put in the most economical performance of his T20I career by conceding just 16 runs in four overs. He also brought up 100 wickets in the format - across both international and domestic matches - when Simmons was given out leg before after missing a sweep and being hit in front of middle and leg. Just before that, Linde had Shimron Hetmyer caught behind off an under-edge as well.

Tabraiz Shamsi bowled overs in tandem with Linde initially - the pair gave away only 14 runs in five overs - and then returned for a second spell. Shamsi had Nicholas Pooran caught at deep backward square-leg off a top-edge and Andre Russell caught at short fine-leg after the latter top-edged a sweep. The left-arm wristspinner equalled his most miserly effort in T20Is with figures of 2 for 13, an identical analysis to the last match.

Take it on the knee!
With West Indies on 101 for 6 after 16 overs and a par score looking distant, Pollard took matters into his own hands. He drilled the first ball of Anrich Nortje's final over straight back to him and clattered him on the left knee. Nortje went down for several minutes, his face scrunched up in obvious pain. He received some treatment on field, got back up and bowled the remainder of his over before hobbling off for some rest to the applause of his team-mates.

South Africa's tight work unraveled in those last four overs, when they conceded 66 runs as Pollard and Fabian Allen took on the specialist quicks. The pair scored six sixes in that period compared to the West Indies' five in the rest of the innings, and Pollard hit three in three balls off Kagiso Rabada, who bowled his most expensive T20 over. Rabada delivered the penultimate over of the innings, which was also the most expensive at 25 runs, and did not complete a full quota for the first time in T20Is since his debut in 2014. Also, Lungi Ngidi's two death overs cost 30 runs as Pollard brought up a sixth T20I half-century and his highest score in seven innings.

Too cool for (old) school
The combined age of West Indies' opening bowling pair in this match was 80 years, with Fidel Edwards (39) in his second series since his Kolpak comeback and Gayle (41) sharing the new ball, though their youth appeared endless. Edwards gave little away until his last ball, but it was Gayle whose joie de vivre was on full display. He took on bowling duties complete with cap, sunglasses and earpiece on, lured Reeza Hendricks out of the crease, beat him on the drive and had him stumped, before cartwheeling in celebration. Gayle told the commentary team he had been dared to mimic Kevin Sinclair, who showed off some gymnastics moves earlier in the series.

Take it on the shoulder now!
Nortje was not the only player to suffer an injury in the match. Allen jammed his right shoulder into the ground beyond the square-leg boundary when he tried to cut off a Temba Bavuma sweep. He didn't save the boundary and his arm was put in a sling as he left the field before he could bowl, with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. Allen was the only specialist spinner in the West Indies XI. His overs were made up for by Pollard and Russell, who bowled his entire quota in a T20I for the first time since March last year.

Bravo for West Indies
Allen's absence was also mitigated by the performance of Bravo, who has been consistently excellent with the ball in this series and continued in that vein in this match. Bravo's first spell straddled the powerplay and cost just eight runs before a second at the death was laced with slower balls. He collected 4 for 11 in 12 balls in the closing stages of the match to eventually finish with career-best figures of 4 for 19. Bravo had Linde caught at point off a slower ball, de Kock caught in the same position chasing a wide full toss, Shamsi skying a ball to Gayle at extra cover and Ngidi holing out to square leg, as he took 3 for 1 in the 18th over to shut South Africa out of the contest.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent